Childhood Cancer Heroes

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Kingsley Jackson

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The only thing Shurice could think to do was sprint out of the conference room. After numerous tests, doctors had finally discovered the issue with her brave 11 month old, Kingsley: Wilms’ tumor. When Shurice finally slipped into a side room to pray, peering out the window, she tried to view the early discovery as a blessing. That outlook framed her approach to Kingsley’s entire ordeal.

“Now, I know no situation can be totally negative,” said Shurice. “I always try to look for the positive and even in this scary time, I found that.”

Part of that positivity stemmed from the doctors saying this cancer isn’t often found in kids as young as Kingsley. That fortuitous discovery meant it may be easier to treat.

First, doctors at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta removed the kidney with the tumor, then Kingsley started on chemotherapy almost immediately. That continued for six months with sessions once per week. Despite losing some hair and occasionally his appetite, Kingsley was relatively healthy throughout and was only hospitalized once during treatment.

Following several years of frequent follow-up scans, Kingsley finally entered the survivor’s clinic last year at age 7. Now, he only has to go in for scans once per year. That moment was a huge step forward for Shurice and her husband Gregory, but the stress of those appointments never fully disappears.

“I still get nervous every time we go in for those yearly tests, even this far from treatment,” said Shurice. “I can’t ever forget that terrified feeling the first time I heard it was cancer.”

Kingsley is taking full advantage of his chance at a typical childhood. Even if his health problems preclude him from playing his dream sport, football, he’s found an alternative love in soccer.

Post-treatment, Shurice has taken her son’s diagnosis and wants to turn it into a positive for others. She works in the medical field currently and her dream job is to help patients undergoing cancer treatment.

“I know how scary a diagnosis can be so I want to use my experiences to help others going through that,” said Shurice.

She also wants to give back to the fight against childhood cancer. Kingsley’s diagnosis inspired her to use her fashion background to create shirts to sell for charity. She wants to use that money for gift cards to give families facing cancer at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. She knows how meaningful even small shows of support like that can be during the throes of treatment.

Resiliency runs in the family too. Shurice still vividly remembers Kingsley’s amazing recovery just several days after his first surgery.

“After going through all that at his age, to be crawling around three days after surgery with a huge cut on his stomach, but still be smiling,” said Shurice. “It was a real ‘wow’ moment for me.”

Shurice’s selflessness is also part of why she believes in Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation’s fight against childhood cancer so much.

“I really appreciate the research ALSF helps fund,” said Shurice. “All ages are special and everyone should have an equal chance at life.”

Thankfully, Kingsley’s family will have a chance to spread that message for years to come.

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